Highrise near old airport gets HAL nod

An alleged wrong estimation of the Above Mean Sea Level (AMSL) by a private builder to construct a 17-storey building, 4.5 km from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) defence aerodrome, has been approved by HAL that handles the airport.

It is learnt that HAL has accepted the estimation and issued a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to the builder.

Chalet Hotels Ltd, an arm of the K Raheja Corporation, which is building the ‘Vivarea Koramangala’ residential complex of four towers in the vicinity, secured a final NOC from HAL on October 28, 2011, to proceed with the construction activity.

In the final NOC, HAL certified that it had no objection to the buildings being constructed at 870 metres (site elevation) along with the 62 metre-tall structure. The total height of the building would be 932 metres (AMSL).

“This NOC is being issued on the express understanding that the site-elevation reduced level (height above mean sea level) vis. 870 metres AMSL relative location of the proposed building/structure and its distance and bearings from the ARP, runway ends as tendered by the applicant(s) are correct,” states the NOC by HAL.

Beyond permissible limit

However, as per the documents in possession of Deccan Herald, the map produced by the Survey of India, the location of survey No. 21,22, 42, 52 and 18 at Jakkasandra village in Koramangala is already upwards of 890 metres (AMSL). This will push the height of the building beyond the prescribed limit for construction of buildings around the aerodromes in the country.

According to civil aviation norms, the height of a building close to any airport or aerodrome should be four per cent of the distance from the edge of the nearest runway.
Further, no buildings are allowed within 300 metres of any runway. In 2011, the Civil Aviation department enabled builders to increase the building height to 57 metres, or up to 14 floors.

In a gazetted document issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, HAL aerodrome has been shown to be at 888 metres above sea level. This makes its position 54 metres below the height of the Vivarea Koramangala buildings.

The Bangalore International Airport Area Planning Authority (BIAAPA) bye-laws suggest that the maximum height of a building within the vicinity of Bengaluru International Airport should be only seven storeys or a maximum of 25 metres, whichever is lower. With the HAL aerodrome previously being the only airport for both civil and military use, the situation can be considered almost similar to that of BIAPPA.

Responding to the allegation of having given an NOC for a wrongful estimation of the AMSL, an HAL spokesperson said: “We have given the NOC based on the elevation being surveyed by Precision Survey and checked and verified by the Ambedkar Institute. The site is marked and signed by BBMP on our zoning map also.”

Efforts to contact the local office of the K Raheja Group, which is the parent organisation for constructing the Koramangala Viverea, were futile. An RTI activist following the case said: “The Chalet Hotels have shown 20 metres lower AMSL by which they have approval for 17 floors; whereas they cannot get approval for more than 12 floors.”

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